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Arsenal reject Barcelona's bid for Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas
Fabregas is currently with the Spain squad ahead of the World Cup

Arsenal have rejected an offer from Barcelona for captain Cesc Fabregas.

Barcelona announced on Wednesday they had made a formal approach for the midfielder, 23, who has indicated an interest in moving to the Nou Camp.

But a statement on the Arsenal website on Wednesday read: "Yesterday evening we received an offer from Barcelona for Cesc Fabregas.

"In response, we immediately and resolutely told them once again we have no intention of selling our captain."

The Arsenal statement added: "To be clear, we will not make any kind of counterproposal or enter into any discussion.

"Barcelona have publicly stated that they will respect our position and we expect that they will keep their word."

Barcelona initially revealed they had made an approach for Fabregas via their Twitter feed on Wednesday morning.

The Spanish giants subsequently told BBC Sport that talks with Arsenal over a deal for the midfielder, who is with Spain's World Cup squad, "became formal" on Tuesday.

We'll do nothing that might make it more difficult for him to come here and we won't rush things - but we won't stop either

Barca vice-president Rafael Yuste

"An informal conversation with Arsenal became formal on 1 June and now an official approach has been made to the club," said a Barca spokesman.

"Before 1 June, under English rules, we could not make an official approach to Arsenal for Fabregas, but that changed on Tuesday.

"I don't think there is a special advance on, say, the price or anything, but it has moved on now."

Barcelona have made it clear they regard Fabregas, who played in the youth team at the Nou Camp before moving to north London seven years ago, as one of their chief transfer targets this summer.

Fabregas signed an eight-year contract with the Gunners in 2006 and has been quoted as saying he would only join Barcelona if he left the Emirates.

Barcelona director general Joan Oliver revealed on the club's official website: "Everybody knows that Cesc wants to sign for Barca and that we also want him to come here, but there is also a third party involved - Arsenal. Any agreement has to be with them.

"We've now made a formal written offer, which we presented to Arsenal yesterday [Tuesday] afternoon."

The vice-president of the Catalan club, Rafael Yuste, added: "I'm optimistic that he'll be able to sign for Barca as soon as possible and it's clear that everybody here will give him a warm welcome.

"We'll do nothing that might make it more difficult for him to come here and we won't rush things - but we won't stop either."

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Barca also revealed on their website that club director Raul Sanllehi and technical secretary Txiki Begiristain will direct their negotiations.

Fabregas revealed last month he had spoken to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger about his future.

"It was probably the greatest conversation I have had with someone in my life," said Fabregas.

"I respect him so much. He told me to concentrate on my football and the World Cup and he will deal with whatever happens in my future.

"It's not up to me any more. It's just now about Arsenal and whoever it has to be and that's it. I don't want to say anything else.

"I just want to be focused for the World Cup because it's the most important thing. The rest, the future, I'm not interested in the future."

His father Francesc Fabregas, who is also his agent, believes talks between the clubs could be protracted.

"The negotiations between Arsenal and Barcelona are going to be very long," he told Radio Marca last month.

"Both parties are going to have to sit down several times because the matter is complicated."

Should Fabregas move to the Nou Camp he would become Barcelona's second summer recruit after the £34m signing of Spain and Valencia striker David Villa.

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see also
The one that got away
02 Jun 10 |  Arsenal
Fabregas inspired by Wenger talk
26 May 10 |  Arsenal
Fabregas keen to sort out future
14 May 10 |  Arsenal
Arsenal deny Fabregas summer sale
14 Apr 10 |  Arsenal
Wenger dismisses Fabregas rumours
02 Apr 10 |  Arsenal
Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal (agg 6-3)
06 Apr 10 |  Europe
Fabregas out for rest of season
01 Apr 10 |  Arsenal
Arsenal 2-2 Barcelona
31 Mar 10 |  Europe
Fabregas meets his makers
29 Mar 10 |  Arsenal

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